How to Cut a Dog's Hair Without Getting Bit

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Hard
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Are you tired of Ralphie boy trying to take a chunk out of you every time you need to cut his hair? Is a muzzle the first thing you reach for when it's time for a monthly trim? Or have you simply given up on being able to cut his hair and started paying for a professional groomer to do the job for you? While this type of behavior may be common in many breeds, it is no way acceptable. To start out, you need to try and find out why Ralphie feels the way he does about grooming. Only then can you move on to training him not to act this way. 

Dog's Perspective

You might not know it, but Ralphie has a much better memory than most people give him credit for. If at any time Ralphie has been mistreated by a groomer, this would be enough to cause him significant anxiety when he sees you with the clippers or shears in your hands. 

The See, They Won't Hurt You Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Clipper
Step
1
These tools are safe
Chances are good the main reason Ralphie doesn't like to be groomed is that the tools you need to use cause him to be nervous. Now is a good time to introduce him to the tools you plan to use, one at a time.
Step
2
Take it slow and steady
Go slow, turn the clippers on and let them run in your hand so that they don't spook Ralphie.
Step
3
Up on top
Since cutting around his head is likely to cause excessive amounts of stress, this is the perfect place to get started. Talk to Ralphie in a nice soothing, relaxing voice and give him a few of his favorite treats to help calm him down.
Step
4
Going down
Keep talking to Ralphie and giving him the occasional treat. Slowly cut the hair on his neck, shoulders, and his back. Keep in mind the more you can keep Ralphie distracted while you work, the easier this job will be for both of you.
Step
5
Nothing changes
It is important that you realize Ralphie's biting habit is not going to go away overnight. It is something the two of you will need to work on over the course of several sessions. Be patient and keep working with him, he will eventually figure it all out.
Recommend grooming method?

The Distracted Pup Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Clipper
Step
1
A room with a view
Choose a room to groom Ralphie in. It should have an easy to clean floor, a window, and perhaps a TV or radio. The more things you have to distract him from what you are doing, the less your chances are of being bitten.
Step
2
Take a hike
Grab Ralphie's leash and take him for a nice long hike. Let him play, sniff, and of course do his "business." The idea is that a tired pooch is less likely to have the energy to become anxious during grooming.
Step
3
Keep him happy
Since Ralphie obviously doesn’t like getting a haircut, your job is to convince him it isn’t such a big deal. Try talking to him, have an on ongoing conversation with him. Even if he doesn’t have a clue what you are saying, your calm, soothing voice will help relax him. A few of his favorite treats can also come in very handy.
Step
4
When his attention wanders
When his attention starts to wander and focus on what you are doing, this could be a sign he is thinking about biting you. It also means it's time for you to step up the distractions. Try turning some soft music on or tune the TV to a fun show. Believe it or not, most dogs will sit and watch TV, there is even a Dog TV channel with programming just for dogs to watch.
Step
5
Keep it fun
The best thing you can do to keep Ralphie happy and not thinking about biting is to make the entire process as much fun as you can. Keep the sessions short at first as almost no pup can stand still for long when they are young. Give him plenty of breaks and it won't be long before you are an old hand at grooming dogs who bite.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • The calmer you remain, the more this will help keep your dog calm during hair cut time.
  • Be sure the clippers and shears you plan to use have good sharp blades. Dull blades tend to rip hair out of his skin, which can be quite painful and lead to infections.
  • Keep in mind that older dogs may be dealing with arthritis pain which can lead to biting.
  • If you suspect your dog is biting as a result of pain, make a visit to your vet to try to get to the root of the problem.
  • Give poor your pup lots of time to get used to the tools of the trade before you use them to cut his hair.
  • A regular grooming schedule will help your dog become accustomed to the process, which in turn should reduce his anxiety and desire to turn you into his personal chew toy. 

Conclusion

Teaching Ralphie to relax at grooming time and stop biting everyone can take a little time. The trick, is that you need to be patient with him and to a certain extent, let him set the pace. Be sure to praise him and give him some of his favorite treats to let him know he is doing a great job.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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